Franz Mehring

On Historical Materialism

(Part III)

We have already mentioned that from the bourgeois side at 1east one attempt has been made to make a scientific critique of historical materialism, and one more remark must be made about this attempt It must be a limited one, however, since we do not want to waste time exposing point by point the twenty pages of distortions and misrepresentations of the materialist outlook on history lumped together by Herr Paul Barth. [24] His “critical essay” is too insignificant for that – it is enough to draw from it some essential points, the explanation which is useful for a positive understanding of historical materialism.

Herr Barth is first of all very disturbed about the fact that Marx formulates the materialist conception of history in “an unfortunately very indeterminate way, patched together out of imagery, and only sometimes in his writings explaining and illustrating it with examples.” He recently aired his mental agonies on this account in an even more drastic form in a weekly magazine of the Bismarckian bourgeoisie, saying that the “so-called materialist theory of history was a half-truth, that Karl Marx had spoken in a moment of journalistic frivolity, and unfortunately tried to back it with supposed ‘proof’.” With the stern countenance of a judge, Herr Barth says that there only three scientific writings by Marx, that is only three worthy of the attentions of a German professor, and these are Capital, The Poverty of Philosophy, and the precursor of Capital, A Critique of Political Economy. Everything else is “popular” and does not concern Herr Barth. Equally, of Engels’ writings he recognizes only Anti-Duhring and Ludwig Feuerbach as worthy of his attention. Herr Barth follows the opposite principle with Kautsky, whom he only knows as the “author of an essay” in Neue Zeit, the popular organ of the Marxists “which has caused great harm” through the spreading of “Marxist folly”; of Kautsky’s “only scientific writings”, such as the book on More, Herr Barth knows nothing or wants to know nothing. Why he makes all these profound distinctions will soon become clear.

In the first place Herr Barth wants to prove that there is no “primacy of economics over politics”. Marx is said to speak in Capital about common, direct social labour in a natural form, which is to be found in the historical threshold of all cultures, of immediate ruling and slave relations at the beginning of history. The word “direct”, of which there is not even the slightest mention in Marx, is elucidated thus by Herr Barth: “That is to say, as with Hegel, incapable of closer description.” He adds triumphantly that Marx did not explain the transition from the natural forms of labour to the relation between the masters and slaves either. Now Marx did not have the slightest occasion to make such an explanation in the section of Capital where he touches upon this development, but he intended to give it, in connection with the research of Morgan, in a special essay, which, as death prevented him from carrying out his intention, was then published by Engels, becoming known to the public more than half a century before Herr Barth proceeded to the smashing of historical materialism. In Engels’ work on The Origin of the Family, etc., the economic development of the classes from gentile society – the economic transition from immediate socialized labour to master and slave relationships – is set out; but, and here the real meaning of these distinctions becomes clear, Engels’ work is not only “scientific” but also “popular” and Herr Barth nowhere mentions it. And, then he begins to “explain”. Where Marx explains the master and slave relationships “incapable of closer description” at the beginning of society, Herr Barth writes: “Since at that time no private property in land or capital existed, and thus no opportunity for subjugation through economic means, thus only political causes can remain for this original enslavement – war and the taking of prisoners of war.” Although Herr Barth cannot avoid asking if these features of war did not have an economic basis, and replies: “For the most part, but not exclusively”, “according to the writings of the anthropologists,” the wars of the savages were caused by religious motives, chieftains’ ambitions, and revenge, that is, “ideological causes”. But instead of at least examining, first of all, what value this evidence of the anthropologists has, and secondly if there are not economic driving forces to be found disguised by “the ideological root causes”, Herr Barth only makes the stupefying revelation, in passing, that the conquest of Asia by Alexander is to be attributed to the “ambition” of the Macedonian king, and the expansionist drive of Islam was due to “religious enthusiasm” and then reaches the triumphant conclusion that slavery in both history and prehistory was “to a large degree, and in the last instance, a political product”, and that “thus politics are shown to determine economics in the deepest and most complete way”. Upon which Herr Barth then, with the utmost perspicacity, but not without the help of Rodbertus, proves that slavery is a “powerful economic category”.

In this way Herr Barth skirts round the scientific proof of historical materialism, which as we have seen in no way denies the presence of ideal motive forces, such as ambition, revenge or religious fervour, but only claims that these motive forces are determined in the last analysis through other, economic, motive forces. And insofar as Herr Barth even considers bringing a proof, a single proof for his claims, the materialist conception of history immediately comes into its own. As the only evidence of the thirst for revenge as a motive for wars between savages he adduces the English anthropologist Taylor, who also discusses the not unknown fact of blood revenge among barbarian tribes. If Herr Barth had not excluded Engels’ work The Origin of the Family from his consideration as being too “popular”, he would quickly have discovered that blood revenge is also part of the “legal superstructure” of gentile society, just as the death penalty is part of the legal superstructure of civilized society. Engels says of gentile society:

Argument and strife are decided by the society of those concerned, be it the gens or the tribe or the individual gentes among themselves – blood revenge, of which our death penalty is only the civilized form, embodying all the advantages and disadvantages of civilization, threatens only as an extreme, rarely used remedy.

According to the conditions of production of gentile society, what was outside the tribe was also outside the law, and when Taylor says that the exaction of revenge usually degenerated into open war when the murderer belonged to another tribe, and such a blood feud would cause bitter wars for generations, then Herr Barth will see that the “thirst for revenge”, which causes the wars of savages, has no ideological cause, but is a form of justice flowing from a specific form of economy. Of course the barbaric penal code, like that of civilization – as with the anti-socialist laws – can be misused, and is indeed misused where barbaric tribes come into contact with civilization and degenerate through its influence, but in that case the development really is from an ideological to an economic category, to the thirst not for revenge but for robbery. To contrast Herr Barth’s English researcher with the Frenchman Dumont, we find Dumont writing about the Albanese, ancient Europeans and for the most part Christians – who “attacked the neighbouring tribes, especially when they were of another religion, and stole their livestock, a sport which promised good profits in peacetime. Reasons for the attacks were not even necessary: the stranger was the natural enemy and should keep a good watch; he who failed to keep a good watch and allowed himself to be attacked was the guilty party. Especially between people of different tribes differences arose from the tiniest reasons. Insults open up the struggle, and as soon as blood is shed, the whole tribe declares its solidarity with the family of the victim. Blood revenge still persists in mountainous regions.” With this Herr Barth has a sample of the religious motives’ in the wars of the barbarians, and perhaps he may have some inkling of how “good profits” could awaken the “ambitious intentions of a chieftain”. On these two points he does not refer to any “anthropologists”, but escapes with a sudden leap into “historical times”, when the “ambition” of Alexander of Macedonia and the “religious wars of Islam” are supposed to be “as clear as daylight”. “As clear as daylight” they are indeed, Herr Barth, for the crude conceptions of bourgeois historical research, caught up in the outer surface of things. Or perhaps not, for Alexander’s German biographer, the Prussian historian Droysen, does not start his book with Barth’s position, “Alexander’s ambition created a new period in world history”, but with his own much more judicious remark, “the name of Alexander marks the end of one world epoch and the start of a new one.” Alexander’s ambition may be clear as daylight, but what lies below the light of day is the real question, and Herr Barth carefully avoids this question.

Immediately following his borrowing from Rodbertus about the important economic role of slavery in history, he continues: “In talking about the ending of the Middle Ages Marx puts forward material which destroys his own arguments, in which the dispersal of the tenants by the feudal lords, who transformed the land into sheep runs with a few shepherds because of the rising profits from grazing, the practice of enclosure, and the transformation of those peasants into free proletarians, who now placed themselves at the disposal of the up-and-coming industries, formed one of the first causes of the original ‘accumulation’ of capital. This agricultural revolution, according to Marx, goes back to the rise of wool manufacture, but according to his own explanation, the feudal powers, the greedy landlords, become its most powerful levers, that is a political power becomes a link in the chain of economic development.” And that is the end of it. Now we know, according to the point of view of certain learned men, Marx is literally drugged with “arguments against himself”, but how and where he argues against himself in the points raised by Herr Barth is beyond our modest powers of understanding. Herr Barth’s proof could perhaps achieve a superficial brilliance in appearance had the landowners “used the lever of legislation” in order expropriate the peasants – but it is only a superficial appearance because even then the politics would of course depend on the economics. But when one looks up the reference in Marx, it emerges that the legislature actually attempted weakly to oppose the economic upheaval, and failed because of the needs of the beginning of the era of capitalist production, in which the great feudal lords, “in defiant opposition to King and Parliament” chased the peasants from the land, and usurped their common lands. The “self-contradiction” in Marx thus lies in the fact that Herr Barth, with his magic formula “therefore”, transforms the “feudal powers, the greedy landlords” into a “political power”. In this case indeed, the speed of the hand deceived the eye.

Immediately after the statements quoted, Herr Barth “goes even further back” and seeks to prove that the feudal forces arose thanks to “political factors”. We can overlook this, on the one hand because Herr Barth does not polemicize any further against Marx and Engels, but adduces a completely inadequate proof from various bourgeois authorities, wrapped up in all kinds of sophism and phrase-mongering; and on the other hand because the social origins of feudalism can be grasped, so to speak, with both hands, and have been shown convincingly recently even by the more important bourgeois historians. [25] For the modern period Herr Barth attempts to prove the dependence of economics on politics by saying that, in the era of discoveries, trade followed upon the lust for conquest, that is upon expeditions which were undertaken for political motives. In a previous section we have already seen, however, what connection there is between economics and discoveries and inventions in history, and we do not have to go into the theory of the “lust for conquest” of Columbus, and so on. Trade did not follow the discoveries, but on the contrary led to them; here too, the economics were the basic factor. And when, finally, Herr Barth refers to the very close connection between the absolute monarchy as a state form and the great number of monopolies that were only possible under such a monarchy, he should have known in advance from Luther’s complaints about the “monopoly companies” (Gesellschaften Monopolia) [26] that the monopolies existed long before the absolute monarchy, and that the “close connection” was not just created by the monopolies as an economic form of absolute monarchy, but by absolute monarchy as a political form of the capitalist mode of production.

And with these five crushing blows Herr Barth thinks he has laid flat historical materialism, insofar as it makes politics dependent on economics.

Herr Barth wants to go on to dismiss the view held by Marx that property relations are the legal expression of relations of production; that, as Herr Barth expresses it, law is “a mere function of economics”. “At first glance this appears to be false, since the same relations of production can be seen under very different legal forms, as Marx himself quotes communist agriculture without slavery and agriculture with private ownership and slavery, that is, two different legal forms for the same stage of production.” Is this really to be believed? Having once heard tell that agriculture is a branch of production, Herr Barth thinks it is also a production relation, and a stage in production! In Marx’s view, the ownership of land and changes in its ownership arise out of the production relations in agriculture. According to whether it carried out in common or privately, each of which can develop and have developed at the most various stages of production, there arise the most varied degrees of common and private ownership. “At first glance this appears to be right”, but for Herr Barth, it is all the same: member of the gens and Roman latifundist, member of the mark [27] and feudal lord, farmer, junker and bondsmen, they are all part of the agricultural branch of production, and so exist in the same production relation and at the same stage of production, and happen by chance to lead differing lives only by virtue of that law which leads an independent existence and falls like snow, heaven knows whence.

In the meantime, “skipping over more distant examples”, as Herr Barth puts it, “we can still see today how certain ideas of law and political principles, which work against the free operation of the economic forces, first in Britain, then in almost every civilized country, have created legislation for the protection of workers and are continually struggling to extend it.” With this sentence, Herr Barth announces that he has not even understood historical materialism in the most superficial sense, if he sees the most platitudinous slogans of Manchesterism as its quintessence. In fact, he knows from Marx’s Capital that the English factory acts were the result of an extremely long and hard class struggle between the aristocracy, bourgeoisie and proletariat; they had therefore an economic, not a moral or political root. And as far as the “other civilized countries” are concerned, Herr Barth should be well aware, if only from his own dear fatherland, what little effect “legal conceptions and political principles” have on “economic forces”. The salubrious effects of the English Factory Ac had been displayed to the whole world for two decades when the North German Diet discussed the Statute of Trades (Gewerbeordnung) in 1869, and if that enlightened body really was ignorant of English conditions, the few Social Democratic deputies took care to draw their attention to the “legal conceptions and political principles” of the English Factory Acts. Did the North German Diet then consider the demand that legal protection of labour, however modest, should included in the Statute of Trades? It never occurred to them. And why not? Let Herr Barth learn from the Official Historiographer of the Prussian State: “It can be clearly recognized from certain paragraphs of the Statute of Trades that the employers were strongly represented in the Diet.” [28] That is putting it mildly, and even then Treitschke makes convulsive efforts to defend the North German Diet against the charge of class self-interest. But this involuntary testimony is enough to explode all the chatter about the “legal conceptions and political principles” that are supposed to have fathered the legal protection of labour. Whatever has been achieved in Germany up to now in the way of such protection is due entirely to the struggle of the German working class, as Bismarck admits, involuntarily again, but all the more convincingly for that. Meanwhile Herr Barth has had an opportunity to study the other side of the coin in the Imperial Decrees of February 1890. They too, let it be said, proceeded from “certain legal concepts and political principles”, and moreover the “political power” with all its forces stood behind them, but nevertheless their effect was zero because the “economic forces” were opposed to them.

“The Marxists”, Herr Barth further states, “are as quick to dismiss morals as merely phenomena associated with economics, in a certain sense as a by-product of economics, as they are politics, and just as incorrectly.” Notice how Barth speculates on the “moral indignation” of the philistine by a spiteful distortion of what “Marxists” have to say about the reflection in moral attitudes of the struggles of economic development. For his own part he thinks that moral conceptions receive a “supernatural, metaphysical sanction” from religion, and that from this connection they gain an existence that is as independent as that of religions, acting and reacting by their own inner energy. Religion, he says, stands far away from economics through its origins: it is not to be excluded that economics has an effect upon it, but this is only claimed by Marx and not proved. As opposed to this, what can be grasped easily in history is the opposite to what Marx claimed, that is a “deep influence of religion on economics. “In the East, through religion, a specially privileged priesthood was formed, freed from physical work, through the tributary obligations of the other classes, and selected for spiritual activity; that is the use of a part of the product of the economy was determined through religion. While in the Graeco-Roman culture, priestly activity was seldom incumbent upon special organs, Christianity went back to the oriental differentiation, created a separate priesthood, which it richly endowed, and thus set aside a part of the economic goods as a material substrate for religious activity, which soon became general intellectual activity.” This is Herr Barth word for word, and here again we must follow him step by step for a little while.

It appears that he has never asked himself the question where the “differentiation” came from in the “orient”, and why Christianity went back to it. And it is all the more remarkable, since he claims to know Marx’s Capital, and has therefore also read the sentence: “The necessity for predicting the rise and fall of the Nile created Egyptian astronomy and with it the dominion of the priests, as directors of agriculture.” [29] And the same role which the Nile played for the Egyptians was played by the Tigris and the Euphrates, the Yang-tse and the Hoang-Ho for other oriental civilizations. The Russian scientist Mechnikov said concerning this that “such a food-provider of a river demands on pain of death, a close and lasting solidarity between sections of the population who are often hostile and even enemies; it sentences everyone to the same work, the use of which is only shown by time, and the plan of which often remains incomprehensible to ordinary people. This is the real cause of the awe and deification of the river as a god who succours and decrees, kills and gives life; who trusts his secrets only to a select few, and from ordinary mortals demands blind obedience.” [30] Thus in the East an especially privileged profession of priests was created through the economy, and not, as Herr Barth claims, through religion; religion did not determine economics, but on the contrary, economics determined religion.

Why did Christianity go back to this “oriental differentiation”? Why did it create a caste of priests who owned one third of the land, half the income and two-thirds of the wealth of the whole of Europe, as Herr Barth says with astonishment? Yes, if Herr Barth had not excluded the scientific works of Kautsky from his “scientific critique”, then he would not betray his lack of knowledge in such a pitiful fashion.

When the Germanic tribes invaded the Roman empire, the Church represented against them the heirs of the Caesars, the organization which held the state together, the representatives of the mode of production belonging to the end of the imperial epoch. Pitiable as this state was, degenerate as the form of production was, both of them were far superior to the economic and political conditions of the barbaric Germans ...The Church taught them higher forms of agriculture; the monasteries remained model agricultural institutions until late in the Middle Ages. It was also the clergy who brought art and craft skills to the Germans; not only did the peasant prosper under the protection of the Church, it also sheltered the larger part of the cities until they were strong enough to defend themselves. Trade was especially favoured by it. The big markets were mostly held next to or inside the churches. The church was the only power which in the Middle Ages took care of the maintenance of the main trade roads, and made travelling easier through the hospitality of the monasteries. Some of these, such as the Hospices on the Alpine passes, served almost exclusively for the encouragement of the movement of trade ... And the fact that the whole knowledge of the Middle Ages was to be found exclusively in the Church alone, that it produced the master-builders, the engineers, doctors, historians and diplomats is well known. The whole material life of people, and with it their spiritual life, emanated from the Church ... it made the Germanic chieftain, the democratic leader of the people and the commander-in-chief, into a monarch; but with the power of the monarch over the people, the power of the Church over the monarch also grew. He became its puppet, the Church changed from a teacher to a ruler. [31]

And so the Church used its all-embracing position of power to accumulate colossal wealth, as Herr Barth can read in detail in Kautsky. He will then immediately grasp that, as he puts it, “Christianity”, though he ought logically to say, the feudal mode of production, “selected a part of the economic goods” as the “material substrate”, not for “religious activity”, but for the direction of economic production. The more superfluous this direction became through the rise of the bourgeois mode of production, the more the economic wealth of the Church was seized wholesale. According to ideological conceptions, Protestantism is the renewal of primitive Christianity, of religious feeling and inner belief, and in a certain sense this is also true: the economic upheavals of the Reformation period threw the masses, especially in Germany, into such an abyss of distress that they preferred to forget their earthly condition, and to concern themselves more intensively with God and the Devil, with heavenly bliss and infernal torture, than the carefree Catholicism of the Middle Ages, with its love for life, ever did. If Herr Barth were right, the religious activity of the priests of this form of Christianity would have to have received an even richer “material substrate”, but the proverbial poverty of the pastor of the Protestant Church must make him think otherwise on this count.

We shall skip over Herr Barth’s two sentences about the religious origin of the Crusades, since this question has already been explained at length by Kautsky. But his trump card, with which he tries to prove “the determining importance of religion for the whole life process in the clearest way”, must be looked at more closely. He considers this proof irrefutable “when two peoples, the same in everything but religion, show a completely different development in their conditions and achievements”. He proposes the Ottomans and Magyars as two such peoples, being closely related; they were neighbours in their original homes in the Turanic basin, the former moving towards Europe at the end of the ninth century, the latter in the twelfth century. For two hundred years, the Ottomans were far more advanced than the Magyars; but then the irresistible decline of the Ottomans began, while the Magyars remain a nation with a future, developing economically and politically. “Since the remaining factors are more favourable for the Ottomans than the Magyars, only the difference between their religious can explain any divergence. Christianity, ascribing a higher value to spiritual powers, drove the Magyars to a higher spiritual development, while Islam, having less spiritual content, made the Ottomans less capable of competition with the Christian peoples.” We will gladly spare Herr Barth a refutation of all the secondary nonsense that is hidden in these few sentences, for example the superb imputation that derives the inextricable confusion of Germans, Jews, Slavs, Rumanians, Magyars and above all mixed races, which populates Hungary, as a pure-blooded race from the Turanic basin. It would take us too far to investigate here whether the mass of the people is more “degenerate” spiritually and morally, in Hungary or in Turkey, although we could refer to the fact that Marx, who has studied these things a little more clearly than Herr Barth, writing to Liebknecht, characterizes the Turkish peasantry – the mass of the Turkish population – as “unquestionably one of the most hard-working and moral representatives of the peasantry in Europe”. [32] In order to smash Herr Barth’s whole proof, it is enough to point out the world historical fact, which I hope is not unknown to Herr Barth, that throughout the whole of the Middle Ages Islamic culture ranked far above Christian culture. Of the three great areas of culture which inherited the Roman-Hellenic culture, the Roman-German, the Greek-Slav, and the Egyptian-Syrian, Arab culture, the latter took over the whole of the knowledge of antiquity in the fields of mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, mechanics and medicine; it was not Rome and not Constantinople but Alexandria which was the centre of science in the Roman Empire. Now the religious expression of the Germanic-Roman sphere of culture was the Roman Church, and that of the Greek-Slav sphere was the Greek Church, but that of the Arab Egyptian-Syrian sphere was Islam. And if Herr Barth’s famous proof is true, then it would hold good for the whole of the Middle Ages, that “Islam, ascribing a greater value to spiritual forces, drove the Arabs to a higher spiritual development while Christianity, having less spiritual content, made the Roman-Germanic peoples less capable of competing with the Mohammedans.” But of course, Herr Barth is treading on shaky ground: it is not religion but economics which determines the whole life process, and because Islamic culture did not outgrow its economic cell, the original village community, which still exists in the East today, therefore it was transcended by the Christian culture, which developed out of the feudal into the bourgeois mode of production, of course not because of but despite the Christian Church, which itself became a mere victim of this development irresistibly bleeding to death. Marx correctly says that every history of religion that sees it independently from its material base is uncritical: that it is in fact much easier to find the earthly nub of the misty religious images through analysis than to develop the glorified form out of the ordinary real circumstances of life. But this is the only materialist and therefore scientific method. And following this method, the most important phases of Christianity have been examined in order to reveal everywhere the dependence of religious conceptions on the relevant, immediate process of production. [33]

The spiritual power of Christianity, as an independent creative and effective factor, thus disappears without trace. The old heathen natural and popular religions, as long as there was no natural science, provided an understanding of nature for men producing under simple and transparent relationships. Christianity, by contrast, had a purely economic origin; it was a social, a world, a mass religion, which arose on the basis of the Roman empire, and out of different ideologies of its different peoples under the impact on the mind and mood of the people of the sinister and mysterious process of the economic collapse. With every upheaval of the mode of production, the spiritual content of the Christian religion changed with varying rapidity. This has become clear even to the better bourgeois historians, such as Gustav Freytag, who emphasizes that the Christian faith had already made great changes in the first century of its existence. It continually succumbed to these changes following the changes in economic development. If one wanted to determine a spiritual content of Christianity common throughout all the changes in time, then one would have at the most a few lifeless formulae at hand, and scarcely that – formulae which at their best could not move a feather, let alone a world. As the world religion of a world empire, Christianity had to develop an unusual adaptability to the most varying economic conditions, and to their ideological requirements; in Italy, it took over many components of the mythology of antiquity, in Germany it took over equally strong components of the Germanic religions, in China the veneration of Confucius and the cult of ancestors. And if the Bible was the book of books for the European peoples for more than a thousand years, if it had an extraordinarily lasting effect on the spiritual and religious conceptions of these people, then this did not take place because of its godly and unchallengeable truth, but precisely because of its countless contradictions. Kautsky said of it succinctly: “This book consists of the spiritual condensation of the most varied social conditions and tendencies from the barbarian gentile society to the society of the Roman Empire, which had reached the peak of simple commodity production, and had collapsed on the threshold of capitalist production. Up to the time of the rule of the capitalist mode of production, there was no class, no party, which could not find prototypes and arguments in the Bible.” The more capitalist society develops however the more the spiritual influence of the Bible decreases, the more transparent becomes the economic process of production, the more the religious reflection of the real world becomes extinguished, and finally, the “form of the social process of life, that is the material process of production is deprived of its veils of mystery, once production comes under the conscious planned control of free social human beings.” (Marx) It was precisely in its medieval heyday that the Catholic Church most clearly appeared as the political organization of a definite socio-economic formation. Herr Barth could also have consulted Kautsky to learn something about this, before having the, to put it mildly, remarkable naivety of deriving the Saxon wars of Charlemagne, and the wars against the Wends of the later Saxon Emperors, from “religious motives”. The most “religious” of these emperors was Heinrich II, who was even sanctified by the Roman Church. In Heinrich’s own time, at the beginning of the eleventh century, lived an even more fiery evangelizer of heathens in the form of the Polish King Boleslav. Boleslav was severely oppressing the heathen Liutians who lived on this side of the Oder in what is now Mark Brandenburg, and who twenty years before had thrown off the yoke of the Christian Germans in a terrible uprising. According to Herr Barth’s fine theory of history, the holy Heinrich should have sung an ambrosian song of praise that the heathen idol-worshippers were finally to be converted by a fellow Christian prince. Instead of this, Heinrich made a pact with the Liutians, against the Polish king. The Liutians agreed to observe certain Christian festivals in their country, and promised that they would pay him tribute if he would grant all their communities the ordering of their own affairs and the free practice of their heathen religion. Then together, the Liutians with their pagan images in the vanguard, they attacked the Polish king. [34]

The extension of Christianity was in those days the ideological clothing for the extension of state power; the foundation of a bishopric in a heathen land meant its incorporation in the state which had formed the bishopric – meant the exploitation, subjugation and enslavement of the defeated people through the Roman form of production. And a holy king would rather refrain from all Christian articles of faith and reconcile himself with all the horrors of heathendom than allow an equally holy king to have so much as one little lump of the soil of the country over which he thought he had the holy right of conquest. But what must this “lofty cultural mission” of Christianity have looked like to these poor rogues of Liutians, who only bought themselves a short reprieve from the gallows by playing one hungry wolf off against another! Just over one hundred years later, another Polish Boleslav attacked the heathen Pomeranians for “religious motives”. He laid waste the country; whole areas of land were totally devastated and the inhabitants fled across the sea or hid themselves in the forests. When Stettin was finally conquered, the people who were still there gave themselves up and promised what the plunderers had demanded first of all – the acceptance of Christianity, in other words subjugation to Polish rule. But this brought difficulties of its own.

Boleslav had hardly marched off and sent Bishop Bernhard as his evangelist, when the Pomeranians made short shrift of this devout man of God, driving him back home so that he was lucky to get away with his life. Incidentally, it is a fairy tale spread by ideological historians that the ill-treatment and murders so often carried out by the heathen peoples on the Christian missionaries of the Middle Ages derived from their bloodthirsty fanaticism. The old natural and folk religions were usually tolerant, simply because they reflected a good-natured spiritual relationship between man and nature, and believers did not care how other people tried to explain this relationship. By contrast, social world-religions are usually intolerant simply because, as Marx says, under their ideological cover they bring into conflict the “most violent, petty and hateful passions in the human breast, the furies of private interest”. If despite this the medieval heathens killed the Christian missionaries so frequently (and except for a few upright ideologists they were not the best specimens), they acted with the same tragic short-sightedness as did workers who went machine-breaking at the time machines were first introduced. The missionaries were certainly the bearers of a higher mode of production, but it could not be expected that the heathens, for whom this mode of production represented the most atrocious exploitation and repression, would understand the “higher point of view”. They thought they could smash the thing itself by destroying those who were its bearers.

Bishop Bernhard therefore returned defeated to Gnesen, and told Duke Boleslav, poor and helpless preacher of the gospel that he was, he had achieved nothing; that the Duke must send a splendid, rich prince of the Church to impress these vile heathens, or in other words that he must try to achieve with money what it had proved impossible to achieve with arms. As we know, the Duke tried to get Bishop Otto of Bamberg for this missionary work. He had proved himself a skilful and quick-witted diplomat in the struggles between the Emperor and the Pope; richly laden with presents, surrounded by a huge following, he moved into Pomerania, and by bribing heathen chieftains met with some success. But in Stettin the mass of the people opposed him completely. They allowed the Bishop to preach in peace, but before submitting to baptism demanded a sizeable reduction in the money tax and war dues imposed on them by the Duke, and only after lengthy negotiations, after messengers had been sent to Gnesen and the Duke’s agreement to the demands for lessening the burdens had been delivered in writing, did Otto obtain his aim. The people of Stettin allowed themselves to be baptized and even destroyed the pagan temples, but pocketed the treasures for themselves, after the Bishop, supposedly out of generosity, had refused them. He moved off with an empty purse, but with the fame of being the apostle of Pomerania, a title he still enjoys today, since according to the reliable statements of the ideological historians, the 22,165 Pomeranians who had been so hastily baptized by Otto were converted to the belief in the holy trinity by his impressive rhetoric.

These examples certainly show the meaning of the “religious motives” of the medieval conversion of the Slavs; they could be multiplied a hundred times, but we can dwell upon them no longer. Just as little can we dwell upon the economic basis of the recent history of religion, which was clarified by Engels, Kautsky and others a considerable time ago. What does need clarifying is the one objection Herr Barth makes to the materialist conception of the Reformation period. In an essay in Neue Zeit it was fittingly remarked that all the reformations and all the wars fought under the related religious banners from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century, were from the theoretical point of view nothing other than the repeated attempts of the bourgeoisie, the city plebeians, and those peasants who had become rebellious with them, to adapt the old theological conception of the world to the changed economic conditions and the situation in life of the new class. This “lowering” is opposed by Herr Barth with the profound words, “for the sake of this the Lombardic cities are ignored, though they were the most advanced in trade and did not have to make this adaptation to Catholicism of their thoroughly new way of life, but quietly kept their old forms of religion.” [35]

Since Herr Barth teaches logic, he really ought to know the saying: “All city burgesses carried out reformations” is quite different from saying: “all reformations started with the city burgess.” And if he does not know this, then it would be as well for him not to get infected with “Marxist impatience” and accuse honest people without further ado of scientific forgery. Moreover, his ingenious objection had been disproved two years earlier, before it even came to light, namely by Kautsky in Thomas More as follows: “The more the production of commodities developed, the more national sentiment was strengthened, the more papal the Italians became. The rule of the Papacy meant the domination and exploitation of Christianity by Italy.” Once more Herr Barth’s fine tactics are to be admired; the advantages he derives from taking notice only of the “scientific” and not of the “popular” works of Marx and Engels are matched by the advantages he derives from knowing only Kautsky’s “popular” works and not his “scientific” ones.

But Herr Barth reaches his highest stature, when he is fighting for his own hearth and home. Philosophy is supposed in the last analysis to rest upon an economic basis? Horror of horrors! “It has,” thunders Herr Barth, “its origins and progress in a special, spiritually highly developed class, which although it is still closely related to the life of the people in its origins, and especially in its religious life, soon creates its own life, ruled by an esoteric tradition and comes to follow its own laws, more and more independently of the life of the people, but without losing its capacity for an effect upon the life of the people.” Should we disturb Herr Barth’s illusions, that from Heraclitus to Paul Barth a chain of mysterious beings float over humanity, following their own laws, and occasionally giving the people a philosophical jab in the ribs from on high? It would be too cruel. But sadly, Herr Barth himself descends to our poor earth and tells us: “Rousseau lived in a society of the most excessive class differences and privileges, and subordination to an all-powerful despotism, but through the method inherited from antiquity and continued by Hobbes and Locke, of the rational construction of the state, Rousseau came to the idea of a kind of society which was founded on general equality and the sovereignty of the people, which was in diametrical opposition to the constitution of France at the time. His theory became practice through the Convention, so that philosophy determined politics and indirectly also economics.” We dip the flag in the face of this philosophical philosophy of history. Rousseau was not the spokesman of the bourgeois class, which through its economic development blew up the absolutist feudal state, but rather the bourgeois classes were the obedient pupils of the schoolmaster Rousseau who made the French Revolution on his instructions by following the ancient recipe. We gladly admit that the bourgeois writing of history is on the whole no longer capable of such charming jokes.

Herr Barth’s friendly advice, however, to take to heart the concluding words of Albert Lange’s History of Materialism, we must decline with thanks. Lange does not come anywhere near historical materialism in a single word he says; what has to be said from the standpoint of materialism about Lange’s work – which is excellent in many respects, but in no way defensible throughout – has already been said by the worker-philosopher, Joseph Dietzgen, whom Engels credited with re-discovering materialist dialectics independently of Marx and even of Hegel. For our part, we recommend that Herr Barth reads the work of this simple tanner, and when he has spiritually digested it, he should start his academic philosophizing anew from the very beginning. [36]

Herr Barth’s last Parthian shot is his claim that Marx’s theory of history is called materialist, despite the fact that certain material elements such as climate and race are completely neglected by it. In very deed! Look at the following statement by Marx: “Apart from the degree of development, greater or less, in the form of social production, the productiveness of labour is fettered by physical conditions. These are referable to the constitution of man himself (race, etc.) and to surrounding nature. The external physical conditions fall into two great economic classes, (1) Natural wealth in means of subsistence, i.e., a fruitful soil, waters teeming with fish, etc., and (2) natural wealth in the instruments of labour, such as waterfalls, navigable rivers, wood, metal, coal etc. At the dawn of civilization, it is the first class that turns the scale: at a higher stage of development, it is the second” (Capital, Vol.1, p.512). But it is really not worth speaking out against the shadow-boxing of Herr Barth in a serious way. When historical materialism says that man does not only live in nature, but also in society, it does not say what Herr Barth means to say with his chatter of climate and race: man lives only in society but not in nature.

All the same, Herr Barth has touched upon a problem which has caused much confusion in bourgeois minds, and therefore merits being explained somewhat more clearly. Historical materialism sees historical development in the gradual progression from the domination of man by nature to the domination of nature by man.

This progress is one and the same as the progress of countless tribes of men, who developed out of the animal world to the one social community, which some day will encompass the whole of the human race. The course of history is not the “differentiation of the homogenous, but the assimilation of the heterogeneous”. [37] That differentiation was the legendary conception, as it is found in the Biblical genealogical construction of Ham, Shem and Japhet, in Tacitus’ German genealogy of the three brothers Ingaev, Istaev and Hermin, or the Slav Czech, Lech and Russ. This assimilation, however, is a scientific conception derived as much from what daily takes place before our eyes, as it is from the investigations into the history of primitive man.

It is one of the insoluble contradictions in which mechanical materialism moves in the field of history, that it totally denies in the struggle for existence in human society the principle of evolution with which, in the realm of nature, it explains the peculiarities of a given species as the adaptation to their environment in the fight for existence, and claims that the human race here has certain permanent features which it has never had and never will have. In tortured additions to this indefensible conception, in the effort to make it compatible with clearly contradictory facts, the concept of race has become so indeterminate, that Gumplowicz says correctly: “Here everything is arbitrary and subjective appearance and opinion: nowhere a firm ground, nowhere a certain starting point or point of reference and also nowhere a positive result.” In fact already in the pre-historical primitive times, the crossing and mixture of different races and tribes had begun, and the first civilizations of antiquity are proved by the Russian researcher Mechnikov to have been the result of a very colourful mixture of different races and tribes, of combinations in which the relative importance of the different combinations had never been remotely understood. Thus for example, it is difficult to weigh which of the three races, the black, the white or the yellow did the most for the civilization of ancient Egypt. The history of Chaldaea even shows that the black race, the so-called Kushites, were more advanced than any of the others in civilization. It advances us even less to take language instead of blood or colour as the sign of differentiation between races. In each of the main language groups, the Aryan, Semitic and Mongolian, there are people of the most varied origins, and if Herr Barth does have some reservations about the utterances of some “brilliant” statesman or other, to the effect that “race is everything” and yet claims that race is important, and tries to support this claim by insisting that the Aryan race is superior to the Semitic in its “political abilities”, then we must say in this connection not only that race is unimportant, but that it counts for absolutely nothing. And it is a little strange that Herr Barth refers to the words of some unnamed English statesman, while he will of course have read in the works of the world famous English philosopher, John Stuart Mill, about the assumption of racial differences: “Of all vulgar modes of escaping from the consideration of the effect of social and moral influences on the human mind the most vulgar is that of attributing the diversities of conduct and character to inherent natural differences.” [38]

Historical materialism does not neglect race in any way: it is the first to make it a clear concept. There is no more an unchanging race of human beings than there is an unchanging race of animals, except that animals are subject to the laws of development of nature, and the human race is subject to the laws of development of society. The more human beings become independent of nature, the more the natural races mix and merge together; the more man’s control over nature grows, the more completely the natural races become transformed into social classes. And as far as the capitalist mode of production extends, the differences between the races have been dissolved or are dissolving more each day into the class opposites. Within human society race is not a natural but a historic concept, which in the last analysis is determined by the material form of production, and is subordinate to the laws of its development, as Kautsky proved in the in most convincing way in relation to concepts of nationality. [39]

But just like those conditions which are to be traced back to human nature, so the natural external conditions of work too are incorporated in the social process of production. If Herr Barth speaks especially of climate, then he does so remembering that Montesquieu tried to make climate the lever of political history, that Winckelmann applied the same principle to the history of art, Harder to the history of culture, although with some diversions, reservations and extensions, and that in our century Buckle derived human history from the two-sided relationship between on the one hand the human spirit, and on the other climate, food, the land and other natural phenomena. And certainly this theory was a remarkable advance as opposed to the theological or the rationalistic conception of history, however much Hegel may have said: “Don’t talk to me about the climate, since the Turks now live where the Greeks used to,” and Bobineau may have attempted to deny any influence of the climate on the development of history. If however Hegel tries to make the absolute idea the lever of historical development and Govineau tries to use the different mixtures of blood, then they represent to say the least no advance on the conception of history advanced from Montesquieu to Buckle. But in any case, to stick to the most consistent representative of the whole tendency, Buckle overlooked precisely the decisive point, the missing link, which makes a whole out of the two halves, which makes his dualist outlook a monist one: the mode of production of material life, which brings together mind and nature, which alone makes the human mind capable of winning control over nature, and can wrest nature’s secrets from it, to make them productive forces in the hands of men. This, which Buckle did not recognize, is what historical materialism emphasizes as the decisive point, and if we have already seen that it in no way denies the laws of the mind, we cannot understand either how it can deny the laws of nature or even the laws of the climate. When did historical materialism claim that cultivation could be carried out on the icebergs of the North Pole, or that it was possible to sail boats on the sand dunes of the Sahara desert? On the contrary, Marx gave the most careful consideration to the significance of natural forces in relation to human production. This is what he writes, to quote one more example:

Capitalist production once assumed, then, all other circumstances remaining the same, and given the length of the working-day, the quantity of surplus-labour will vary with the physical conditions of labour, especially with the fertility of the soil: But it by no means follows from this that the most fruitful soil is the most fitted for the growth of the capitalist mode of production. This mode is based on the dominion of man over Nature. Where Nature is too lavish, she “keeps him in hand, like a child in leading-strings”. She does not impose upon him any necessity to develop himself. It is not the tropics with their luxuriant vegetation, but the temperate zone, that is the mother-country of capital. It is not the mere fertility of the soil, but the differentiation of the soil, the variety of its natural products, the changes of the seasons, which form the physical basis for the social division of labour, and which, by changes in his natural surroundings, spur man on to the multiplication of his wants, his capabilities, his means and modes of labour. It is the necessity of bringing a natural force under the control of society, of economizing, of appropriating or subduing it on a large scale by the work of man’s hand, that first plays the decisive part in the history of industry. [40]

This one passage, not to mention countless others, already shows how far Marx’s theory of history “neglects” the natural elements and the climate.

But wherever nature allows the existence of man and the unfolding of asocial process of production, there the natural conditions of work are subsumed into this process; they are taken up by it, changed and subdued, and they lose significance to the same degree that the control of man over nature increases. They play their role in the history of human society only through the process of production, and therefore it is quite enough for Marx to say that the mode of production of material life determines the process of social, political and intellectual life in general. In each mode of production, the relevant natural conditioning of the work is contained, and beyond this nature plays no further role in the history of human society. This means, in other words, that the same form of production determines the social process of life in the same way, be the climate, race and other natural conditions as varied as they like, and different modes of production determine the social process of life differently where climate, race and the other natural conditions of life are completely similar. To take one historical example of each to prove these two propositions, and in fact strengthen them, permit us to draw these examples not from the conditions of civilization, where the domination of man over nature is more or less advanced, but from barbaric conditions, where man is almost completely dominated by nature which stands opposed to him, hostile and incomprehensible.

One finds in all peoples with collective property, despite the differences of race and climate, exactly the same vices, passions and virtues, almost identical habits and forms of thought. Artificial conditions call forth the same phenomena in races formed differently by natural conditions. [41]

Thus wrote Lafargue, who in this connection understands social conditions as being part of the artificial conditions.

He is quoted here precisely because he makes particular reference to race and climate; and in the writings of Morgan, Engels, Kautsky and others there are many illustrations of how among all “peoples with collective property”, that is, in all gentile societies in the past, the whole process of life takes place in the same way. Moreover Herr Barth himself speaks elsewhere in his work of the “similarity of all societies” at the beginning of culture, and refers specifically to Morgan’s major epoch-making work, in which, however, he does not appear to have got wind of the devil’s brew of historical materialism. But if Morgan, according to Herr Barth, proves the gentile constitution of the greatest part of the earth from China westward towards North America, “and assumes it correctly for the small remaining part, for which he has not yet found proof” – what then do climate and race have to do with the history of human society, where this society is still firmly tied to the umbilical cord of nature?

It is necessary here to mention a very remarkable example which shows how with complete equality of climate and race, different modes of production determine the whole life process in a different way. It comes from the writings of a famous American traveller, Kennan, who, with his clear vision, and straightforward understanding, had already, as a young man of twenty years old, discovered historical materialism after his own fashion without ever having heard of Marx and Engels or even of his fellow-countryman, Morgan. [42] In the northern part of the Kamchatka peninsula, more or less the most inhospitable part of the inhabited earth, live the Koryaks, a tribe consisting of about forty patriarchal families, who make their living through the training and breeding of reindeer. They are forced into a nomadic form of life through this mode of production.

A herd of four or five thousand reindeer will, in a very few days, paw up the snow and eat all the moss within a radius of a mile from the encampment, and then, of course, the band must move to fresh ground ... They [the Koryaks] must wander or their deer will starve, and then their own starvation follows as a natural consequence.

How dependent the, mode of production of the Koryaks is on nature is reflected in their childlike religious conceptions. Their only religion is the worship of evil spirits. The priests of this religion have to let themselves be whipped thoroughly in order to prove the genuine nature of their revelations; if they withstand their chastisement with out any signs of weakness they are recognized as servants of the evil spirits and their orders are followed despite all the hocus-pocus that they deceive others into believing and themselves into carrying out, such as the swallowing of live coals and similar mad acts.

It is the only religion possible for such men in such circumstances ... If a band of ignorant, barbarous Mahometans were transported to North-Eastern Siberia – compelled to live in tents, century after century, amid the wild, gloomy scenery of the Stanavoi Mountains, to suffer terrific storms whose causes they could not explain, to lose their reindeer suddenly by an epidemic disease which defied human remedies, to be frightened by magnificent auroras that set the whole universe ablaze, and decimated by pestilences whose nature they could not understand, and whose disastrous effects they were powerless to avert they would almost inevitably lose by degrees their faith in Allah-Mahomet, and become precisely such Shamanists as the Siberian Koryaks.

The Russian Church is making efforts to convert all the Siberian heathens into Christians, but their missionaries are having a degree of success only with the settled tribes; all their efforts bounce off the migrant Koryaks without a trace, and Kennan says correctly that the conversion of these nomads would have to be preceded by a total upheaval of their mode of life, that is to say the mode of production.

This form of production not only ties the Koryaks down to childlike religious concepts but also forces them into barbaric habits; to deny what Kennan calls “the strongest emotions of human nature”. They kill all elderly people; they impale the sick or stone them to death if they have no hope that they will get better; they know how to explain the different forms of killing with “the most sickening minuteness”. But all the Koryaks see a natural end to existence in the death of a man or woman by the hand of a close relative; no-one wants it to be any different.

The barrenness of the soil in North-Eastern Siberia, and the severity of the long winter, led men to domesticate the reindeer as the only means of obtaining a subsistence; the domestication of the reindeer necessitated a wandering life; a wandering life made sickness and infirmity unusually burdensome to both sufferers and supporters; and this finally led to the murder of the old and the sick, as a measure both of policy and mercy.

And Kennan again correctly points out that this ugly custom did not mean that the Koryaks were innately backward by origin. It is the result of the same mode of production which made the nomadic Koryaks an honest, hospitable, generous, bold and independent breed of men. The Koryaks treat their wives and children with great kindness; during his more than two years of contact with them Kennan never saw a woman or a child being beaten, and he himself was treated with “as much kindness and generous hospitality” as he had ever experienced in a civilized country with Christian inhabitants.

Now some three or four hundred Koryaks lost their reindeer through a pestilence, and were thus forced to lead a sedentary life. They live in houses made of driftwood on the sea-coast and live by fishing and hunting seals; they also hunt for whale-bones, which have had their blubber removed by American whalers and wash up on the sea-shore. They are engaged in trade with Russian peasants and traders and with American whalers. Let us listen to Kennan as he explains how this changed mode of production changed the whole life-process of the Koryaks! He writes:

The settled Koryaks of Penzhinsk Gulf are unquestionably the worst, ugliest, most brutal, degraded natives in all North-Eastern Siberia ... they are cruel and brutal in disposition, insolent to everybody, revengeful, dishonest and untruthful. Everything which the wandering Koryaks are, they are not.

And he shows in detail how these changes are due to the sedentary Koryaks’ trade and concludes:

I have a very sincere and hearty admiration for many wandering Koryaks ... but their settled relatives are the worst specimens of men that I ever saw in all Northern Asia, from Bering’s Straits to the Ural mountains.

And yet, as far as climate and race and all other natural conditions: are concerned, even a magnifying glass would not find the slightest trace of difference between the sedentary and the migrant Koryaks.

But enough of these aphoristic remarks, which, to repeat once again, are not an exhaustive exposition of historical materialism, but are only intended to refute arguments which have been raised against it. Whoever wants to get to know it completely, must study the works of Marx, Engels, Morgan, Kautsky, Dietzgen, Buerkli, Lafargue, Plekhanov, and the files of Neue Zeit. With regard to these works, Engels could well say that the proof of the correctness of the materialist investigation of history had been shown, and that if Herr Barth complains that Engels “unfortunately” does not name these works to which he refers, then; our learned friend is overlooking the fact that Engels does not write for German university professors, but for thinking workers. If Engels were writing for German professors, then he would perhaps – who knows? – be so generous as to go into the matter more closely than is necessary for thinking workers.

If one can then say that historical materialism has a firm and indestructible basis, this is not to say that every result of its analysis is completely indisputable, nor that there is nothing left for it to do. Where the materialist examination of history is misused as a model, then it leads to the same distortions as the use of any model in the study of history, and even where it is correctly applied as a method, the different talent or education of those who apply it, or the difference in the nature and extent of the source material which is at their disposal, leads to many differences in conception. This is quite obvious, since in the field of history a mathematically precise proof is just not possible, and whoever tries to challenge the materialist method of research into history because of such contradictions, should not be further disturbed in his or her bird-brained pleasures. For reasonable people, “contradictions” of this kind will only serve as an opportunity to test which of the mutually contradictory researchers has carried out his investigations more accurately and more thoroughly. Thus the method itself can only gain clarity and certainty, in its application as in its conclusions, from precisely these “contradictions”.

There is still infinitely much for historical materialism to do until it has shed light on the history of humanity in its innumerable ramifications, and its greatest power will never unfold on the terrain of bourgeois society because its growing strength will first of all smash this society. It must certainly be recognized that the conscientious historians of the bourgeoisie are to some extent under the influence of historical materialism, as we have noted repeatedly in this sketch, although this influence is always confined within certain limits.

As long as there is a bourgeois class, it cannot give up bourgeois ideology, and even Lamprecht, the most renowned representative of the trend of so-called “economic history”, begins his History of Germany with a basic outline, not of the German economy, but of “German national consciousness”. Historical idealism in its most varied theological, rationalistic and also naturalist manifestations is the historical conception of the bourgeois class, just as historical materialism is the historical outlook of the working class. Only with the emancipation of the proletariat will it come to full flower, and will history become a science in the strict sense of the word – what it always ought to have been but has never yet been: a teacher and leader of humanity.




24. Paul Barth, Die Geschichtsphilosophie Hegels and der Hegelianer bis auf Marx and Hardmann, p.70ff.

25. Lamprecht, Deutsche Geschichte, vol. 2, p.89ff.

26. See Mehring, Absolutism and Revolution in Germany, Chapter 1, The German Reformation and its consequences.

27. For a description of this early form of land ownership see Engels’ article The Mark published as an appendix in The Peasant War in Germany, Lawrence and Wishart 1969.

28. Treitschke, Deutsche Kämpfe, p. 516.

29. Marx, Capital, Vol.I, Moscow 1961, note on p.514.

30. Metschnikoff, La civilisation et les grands fleuves historiques, p.189. See also Plekhanov’s critical review of this work in Neue Zeit, 9th Year, vol.1, p.437ff. [Note by Mehring].

31. Kautsky, Thomas More and his Utopia, p.80ff.

32. Liebknecht, Zur orientalischen Frage, p.57.

33. Apart from Marx’s indications and expositions scattered through Capital, cf. on the origins of Christianity: Engels, Bruno Bauer und das Urchristentum, in the Zurich Sozialdemokrat 1882, Nos.19 and 20, [in English in Marx and Engels, On Religion] and Kautsky, Die Entstehung des Christentums, in Neue Zeit, 3rd Year, p.481ff. On the medieval church and the Protestant reformist movement that developed out of it, see Engel’s writings on the Peasant War in Germany and on Feuerbach, and also Kautsky’s book on Thomas More; countless other essays in the Neue Zeit, of which we must particularly mention Engels, Über historischen Materialismus, 11th Year, vol.1, p.15ff, and the anonymous essay on Juristen-Sozialismus; 5th Year, p.49ff., and also Kautsky, Die Bergarbeiter and der Bauernkrieg, 7th Year, p.289 ff., and more recently the same author’s Zukunftsstaaten der Vergangenheit, 11th year vol.1, p.653ff. On the scientific materialist criticism of the Old Testament we must also mention Lafargue, Der Mythus von Adam and Eva [The Myth of Adam and Eve], 9th Year vol.2, p.225ff., and M. Beer, Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des Klassenkampfes im, hebräischen Altertum, 11th year, vol.1, p.444ff., and also Kautsky, Die Entstehung der biblischen Urgeschichte im Kosmos, 7th Year, p.201ff. [Note by Mehring].

34. Giesebrecht, Geschichte der deutschen Kaiserzeit, vol.2, p.36.

35. “Are carefully ignored and overlooked” 1 as Herr Barth most recently says, raising the same objection against Engels in Deutsche Worte. [Note by Mehring.]

36. Dietzgen, The Nature of Human Brain-Work.

37. Gumplowicz, Der Rassenkampf, p.184. How far this in any case very stimulating book is in agreement with historical materialism or not is discussed in detail by Kautsky in the Neue Zeit, 1st Year, p.537ff. [Note by Mehring]

38. J.S. Mill, Principles of Political Economy, Vol.1 p.390 (in the second edition of 1849).

39. Kautsky, Die moderne Nationalität, in Neue Zeit, 5th Year, p.392ff. See also ibid., p.187ff. Guido Hammer’s essay on the disruption of the modern nationalities. [Note by Mehring.]

40. Marx, Capital, vol.1, pp.513-514, Moscow 1961.

41. Lafargue, Der wirtschaftliche Materialismus nach den Anschauungen von Karl Marx, p.32.

42. George Kennan, Tent Life in Siberia and Adventures among the Kotyaks and Other Tribes in Kamtchatka and Northern Asia, London 1871. p.124ff.


Last updated on 15.2.2004